Teaching Engineering & Fidget Spinners

We are always looking to incorporate student interests into the classroom. Sometimes, this can be tough, and other times, it comes so naturally and easy. Enter, 3D Printed Fidget Spinners. Some educators may call them an annoyance and a distraction; I see an opportunity for learning. Mainly because these simple toys, that are composed of just a couple bearings and plastic, are easily recreated in free programs such as TinkerCAD and printed for under one dollar.

Before starting this project with my students, I made sure I had the support of my administration as some schools started to ban them in their school. While I disagree with that action, I wanted to respect their decision. After approval, I informed my students of our upcoming project. My students were thrilled with the idea and were excited to begin designing their 3D Printed Fidget Spinners.

After searching all over Amazon for bearings, I found a couple cheaper options. It’s important to note that these prices are constantly changing and stock is always in and out. Also, if you can plan a couple months ahead of time, you find options to buy in higher bulk (100) for much cheaper. Unfortunately for me, this was a teachable-moment-type lesson and I need them as soon as possible. (I have listed the links below)

After purchasing over 200 bearings, I realized that this still wasn’t enough for all my students to have one (I teach over 125 students). I needed a solution to use less bearings. After scouring the internet and looking at fidget spinners, I came to the solution of replacing the outer bearings with hex nut bolts. This would allow students to create their very own 3D Printed Fidget Spinner and only use one bearing per design.

Here is what you need:

TinkerCAD Skills Taught During the Lesson

  • Creating & Manipulating Basic Shape Objects

  • Creating Holes

  • Typing in Exact Measurements on Sha​pes

  • Grouping Objects Together